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WayForward headbutts XBLA, PSN with Double Dragon: Neon

There is no end to WayForward’s campaign to bring back the good old days of two-dimensional gaming goodness. The studio brought back A Boy and His Blob as a lush, hand-drawn fantasy. It gave Contra its first numerical sequel in over a decade with Contra 4. WayForward even took a series from the 3D era, Bloodrayne, and turned it into a hand-drawn 2D brawling with insane platforming challenges in Bloodrayne: Betrayal. These people are committed. Now they’re bringing back Technos’ long-dormant Double Dragon series with Double Dragon: Neon.

An explicitly campy throwback, director Sean Velasco describes the game as a love letter to “the music, the style, and culture of the ‘80s.” The only play details revealed so far is the Mix Tape system which you use to upgrade skills. As long as hair pulling is involved, it will still be Double Dragon. From the scant early screens of the game, it looks like players will be able to high-five each other, which is just about the best use of a button since A Boy and His Blob’s devoted hugging button.

Unusual for WayForward though, Neon is actually not a hand-drawn 2D game, opting for polygonal characters. Obviously the game is still in development, but as it is now, Double Dragon is awfully dark and somber looking for a game with Neon in the title.

What this means for Barunson Interactive’s Xbox Live remake of Double Dragon II is unknown. That game was announced last summer for a fall release but has since disappeared into the ether of the Web. Since Technos closed the publishing rights to Double Dragon have been difficult to pin down. It looks like WayForward’s publishing partner Majesco holds the series now.

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